Pope Accepts Invitation to Return to Ireland

Trip Would Mark Anniversary of 1979 Visit

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MAYNOOTH, Ireland, JULY 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has accepted an invitation to return to Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of his 1979 visit, the Irish primate says.

The Irish bishops’ conference had invited the Pope to pay a return trip to Ireland, to recall his Sept. 29, 1979, visit.

“Our invitation request has been placed before the Holy Father and a reply has been received from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State indicating that the proposed visit has, in principle, been accepted,” Archbishop Seán Brady of Armagh, primate of All Ireland, said in a statement today.

“We are delighted with this response and hope that this visit will take place,” the primate added.

“However,” he added, “the date of the visit has yet to be decided, but given the commitments of the Holy Father for the remainder of the year, it would seem reasonable to conclude at this stage that a visit in 2004, while not ruled out, is rather unlikely.”

Archbishop Brady said the Holy Father’s itinerary in Ireland has yet to be established.

“The visit of the Holy Father would once again be a pastoral one,” the archbishop said. “An appropriate and substantial program of prayer, preparation and reflection is essential to ensure that the people of Ireland would gain maximum benefit from another papal visit.”

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